Making the Astronaut Snoopy for Artemis 1 Mission

Astronaut Snoopy is in progress at my Harlem, NYC studio

Me and Snoopy

Snoopy has become a high point of my career, I feel I have developed a relationship with Snoopy! This project was all about relationships.  Peanuts Worldwide LLC and my former employer, Martin Izquierdo Studio have had a long-term partnership. Martin has been one of the leaders of New York City’s theatrical artists for decades.  I started working for him right after graduating from grad school with an MFA in Costume Design.  The first big project I had was making angels’ wings for Victoria’s Secret fashion show.   Since then, I worked for Martin for more than 18 years.   About six years ago, I started creating Snoopy’s costumes for the “ Snoopy and Bell in Fashion” Exhibitions. I was an integral part of that project.  I created Snoopy and Bell’s costumes for designers like Oscar De La Renta,  Monse, Rachel Zoe, Paul Tazwell’s Hamilton musical, and more.

Me and NASA

Peanuts Worldwide also has a long-term relationship with NASA.  Since Artemis will be going to the moon, NASA asked Peanuts to make a special Snoopy doll wearing an astronaut’s costume.  Then, Peanuts called Martin, and Martin called me. However, Martin closed his studio after the pandemic, so I had to create Snoopy without a big space and all the amazing resources at Martin’s studio.  Martin and I started working on the project in April 2021.  I was a little nervous working on a big project all by myself in a studio space in a small apartment where my teenage son and elementary school daughter ran around.  Snoopy was small enough to fit on my studio table, though,  so I figured all will be fine.

Martin and I sometimes visited Ted Southern’s studio for meetings about Snoopy, and to be filmed by Apple TV for their short documentaries.  Ted is another past employee of Martin’s studio, having been one of the main artists behind Victoria’s Secret fashion shows’ wings and numerous other projects.   Coincidentally, he had moved on to founding his own aerospace company called Final Frontier – designing spacesuits!  He was the perfect teammate.  He was the liaison between me and NASA, consulting on the materials I needed for constructing the suit.  There were so many restrictions on materials, so Ted’s expertise was invaluable.  NASA wanted to use exactly the same space-safe fabric as real astronaut suits for the miniature Snoopy suit.  Using standard clothing materials would present problems in space due to moisture, oxygenation, and other environmental issues.  That was the most challenging restriction for me.

Alternating Snoopy’s Body for a Perfect Astronaut’s Suit

Logistically, I had to alter the actual plushie. The prefabricated Snoopy plushies made of NASA-approved materials have a very short neck, arms, and legs.  Martin got a great idea to add 1/2″ length to the arms and legs and 1/4″ for the neck from the original plushies, to better accommodate the miniature suit.  Since I had to make two Snoopy dolls (one for Earth and one for the Moon), Peanuts provided +8 Snoopy dolls to experiment. I was cutting apart pieces of Snoopy’s body and putting them together to create the ideal figure – much like Dr. Frankenstein.  I even sewed gussets, a tiny piece of fabric on his underarm to help him with movement when he floats in zero gravity.

Snoopy Come Home!

One of the Snoopy figures is intended for permanent display, along with my costume patterns and samples, at the Santa Rosa Snoopy Museum.  For that Snoopy, we built a helmet.  Ken Berman, who is a master puppeteer  (and conveniently my husband – as I said, this project was all about relationships!) made a helmet for the Earth Snoopy.  Snoopy’s suit’s collar is connected to the attachment of the helmet, and the helmet had to be removable.  We carefully worked together and matched the measurement of the 3-D printed collar attachment and his suit’s collar measurement.

I’ve always had a wonderful creative dynamic with Martin, so the creative process was very smooth. It was an intense process of making mock-ups for some parts since the tiny details using heavy fabrics posed a physical challenge.  I completed both Earth Snoopy with a helmet and Moon Snoopy in the middle of August 2021.  I was very lucky to be a part of this wonderful team of collaborators.

As a bonus- we were invited to witness that launch in person….more on that in my next post!